Three spring fleam/lancets, cased, possibly Germany, 1701-1850

Made:
1701-1900 in Germany
maker:
Unknown

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Three brass automatic lancets, in leather covered case, 18th or 19th century, one lancet is lacking its top lever, registered as German

These lancets are unusual as they appear in a set of three and are decorated with an engraved quill design. Lancets were used in bloodletting – a practice once carried out to treat a wide range of diseases and medical conditions. This automatic type of lancet works by the blade being swiftly released to cut into a vein by means of a spring mechanism. Much depended on the skill and experience of the operator in determining the depth of the cut.

The main body of the lancet is made of brass, but the double-sided blade is made of a stronger, finer metal. It is likely that it would have been used on a number of patients without any effective form of sterilisation.

Details

Category:
Therapeutics
Object Number:
A606792
Materials:
brass, cloth, leather, metal, steel and wood
Measurements:
lancet: 13 mm x 58 mm x 33 mm, .02kg
type:
automatic lancet
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • medical instrument
  • lancets